PPT has several times observed that lese majeste “suspect” Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa (Pai) is being framed by the military junta.
He is being “fitted up” for this charge because the junta finds him an unacceptable political activist.
It is widely known that almost 3,000 other Facebook users shared the story on the new king that has Jatuphat incarcerated. Not a single one of those has been charged with anything. It is only Pai.
Khaosod reports that “his supporters and friends” have declared that “he’s been singled out to scare others under a draconian but convenient law.”
Pakorn Areekul, a member of the New or Neo Democracy Movement states that:
Pai’s Facebook and many activists have been under surveillance by the authorities…. They even visit and comment on my Facebook sometimes. So whenever I post something that’s risky, they could prosecute me. It can be said that they have been looking for such an opportunity.
Anon Nampha, who is a member of the legal team representing Pai, “said the 25-year-old student was charged and detained to discourage other activists.”
Nuttaa Mahattana, who coordinates a campaign for Pai’s release, said “the activist was targeted because he’s on a junta watchlist for Khon Kaen province…. We’re always being monitored. If we make a misstep, it’s up to them when they will take action against us…”.
Update: The Bangkok Post’s Atiya Achakulwisut has an op-ed on Pai. She makes the important point that the “longer we keep mum about the case of Jatupat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa, however, the higher the risk that faith in the law and the justice system will decline.” She is right that because he is “a lese majeste suspect” a highly sensitive charge,” this is “one reason why his continued imprisonment has not been discussed.”
That’s why the junta uses Article 112. It is to threaten others as much as to punish their political opponent.
She’s right to ask questions: “Police have not bothered to explain why only Pai was prosecuted for the alleged crime when over 2,000 people shared the BBC Thai article. Why him?… If the charges against Pai were built on arguably debatable grounds, the reason why he has been denied the basic right to bail seems even more questionable.”
And this: “The question is: Have state power and the rule of law become so fragile they can be threatened merely by Facebook sarcasm? If so, will they be strong enough to protect the rest of us?”
It’s the junta that is in question. It is an illegitimate regime in a process of legitimating itself through a fake referendum, a fake constitution and plans for a fake election. It wants no dissent.